A Lithuanian man has been handed a life sentence for strangling his ex-wife in Peterborough before taking her dead body to Poland and dumping it in a shallow grave.
Rimas Venclovas, 47, murdered Vitalija Baliutaviciene, 29, after discovering she had started a new life with another man.
Her body was discovered in a remote wood in western Poland by a mushroom-picker more than two months after she disappeared from her home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.
Venclovas bragged about his plans to kill and bury Ms Baliutaviciene, also of Lithuanian origin. He spent months planning the murder from his home in Lithuania.
The killer applied for travel documents under an assumed name, used his lover’s credit card to buy supplies, grew his hair and started sporting a moustache.
He even bought a minibus in preparation for the journey to Poland, removing the seats and tinting the windows so no one could see in.
He then staged a ‘dry run’ three weeks before he snatched his ex-wife, sneaking back into the UK to watch her movements and to scout potential burial sites.
He pounced on his victim as she was heading to work from her home in Burmer Road, Peterborough, in the early hours of August 12 last year.
Ms Baliutaviciene would normally have got a lift with a friend to her job at a potato factory, but the car had broken down and she had to walk into the centre of Peterborough to get a lift with someone else
‘CCTV footage taken a short distance along her route shows her being overpowered and taken away by someone,’ said prosecutor Maureen Baker QC.
‘Then she simply vanished.'
‘That is until October 30, when a man gathering mushrooms in a wood in western Poland came across a shallow grave containing her remains.
‘It was established she had died a suddenly and violently as a result of manual choking.
‘The prosecution say that this defendant, her former husband, is responsible for both her kidnap and murder.
‘And, in doing so, did exactly what he always promised her he would.’
Two days before the killing, he dropped hints about his plan to Ms Baliutaviciene’s mother, Vanda Cereneckiene, during a meeting at her home.
‘He was saying she would be kidnapped and sold,’ she said. ‘Those kinds of things.
‘He said she was a loose woman and that she goes with anyone in Peterborough.’
During a further visit after the killing, he told Ms Cereneckiene: ‘I’ve come to tell you that Vitalija’s not around any more.’
But instead of owning up, he accused her of cooking up a plot with her daughter to fake the disappearance so he would be denied access to their son.
Venclovas, who appeared newly shaven-headed in court today, has previous convictions in Lithuania for using counterfeit documents, driving offences, theft and stealing State property - but no offences of violence.